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Ingeniería e Investigación

Print version ISSN 0120-5609


TORRES ORTEGA, Jesús Alfonso; DIAZ ALDANA, Luís Alejandro  and  SANCHEZ CASTELLANOS, Francisco José. Falling film reactor for methyl ester sulphonation with gaseous sulphur trioxide. Ing. Investig. [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.3, pp.48-53. ISSN 0120-5609.

A set of experiments was carried out for validating a 40 cm long and ½ inch diameter sulphonation falling film reactor for the sulphonation of hydrogenated palm stearinederived dodecylbenzene (DDB) and methyl esters (ME) compared to oleumderived gaseous SO3. Volumetric titration was used for determining the percentages of sulphonated (active) matter, sulphuric acid content and unsulphonated oil by petroleum ether extraction. The reactor's functionality was tested in the conditions reported by Gutiérrez et al., for DDB sulphonation. The falling film reactor analysis techniques applied to sulphonated DDB in the scale bank reactor were thus validated in Universidad Nacional de Colombia's Chemical Engineering Department Laboratory with the involvement of the Química Básica Colombiana Company (LIQ, Caloto, Cauca, Colombia). The influence of different process variables on the sulphonation of a mixture of methyl esters was then evaluated. The results obtained in the sulphonator were adjusted to empirical equations using multiple linear regression; these expressions showed the direct effect on sulphonation of variables such as SO3/ME molar ratio, SO3 concentration in gas flow and ME mass flow.

Keywords : sulphonation; sulphur trioxide; methyl ester; film reactor; empirical equation.

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